Friday, January 1, 2010

Baking Under the Influence

So, how was everyone's year-end celebration last night? Hopefully you didn't drink or dance too much, because while the loaf I've got to show you today is probably good hangover food (hair-of-the-dog as it were, you'll see!) putting the whole thing together requires both a bit of forethought as well as a bit of motor control! Even posessing both those qualities, it was an interesting experience trying to knead almost an equal amount of "filling" ingredients to the dough! Luckily the presoak of the mixture (as indicated by Susan when she first made her version) helped a lot, as did (I'm sure) the fumes from all the Grand Marnier they were laced with!

The dough, unsurprisingly, does not rise a whole lot at all, and since it's a sourdough your rising times will vary. Mine's a pretty lazy starter (no doubt because I don't use it very much!) but the dough is so stiff that even conventional yeast won't cause it to "double" like your standard white loaf. The result, though, is not a leaden brick (like I feared), but rather a loaf that slices into nice hearty slabs perfect for soaking up runny honey and even jam from a certain generous friend!

Susan's bread looks a heck of a lot different (read: prettier) than mine, but the method of mixing is essentially the same - I had to increase the "dough" ingredients proportionately to the amount of stuff I wanted to cram in, but the ratios were the same (I was good and weighed them!). I also went whole-hog and scoured out my pantry for "bits" when I was making cookies, and so that's how I came up with the mixture of cereal, prunes, dates, cranberries, raisins and sunflower seeds! When I was trying to get all of the stuff into the tiny amount of dough at first, I was thinking this is never going to work, but really, persistence and good elbow grease pays off in this case! Not a single raisin nor grain of quinoa escaped the loaf once it was shaped, and when we cut into it the next day it looked almost like a stained-glass window... an insane amount of treasures wrapped up in a neat little package!

I like that the dough itself is not sweet, since all the fruit inside adds plenty of it's natural sugars and texture. I would say that this is really the type of "catch-all" loaf that you could add any sort of dried fruits, grains or nuts to that happened to be lying around in the pantry, but of course you can also make it fancy with one or two selections! The liqueur for soaking is also optional - I did it for flavour (ooh boy, was it flavour!) but if you don't have Grand Marnier on hand, red wine would be great, or even a fruit juice if you don't drink at all. Heck, even water will work - the key is to soak the filling. You really don't want to burn the fruit, or break a tooth on a seed or grain!

Since I missed the New Year's edition of YeastSpotting, I'm sending this to next week's roundup!! Thanks Susan!

Slightly Soused Seeded Sourdough
Makes 1 large loaf, 20 slices
170 g "Sunrise Blend" cereal (or other whole grain, long cooking cereal like steel cut oats)
85 g raw sunflower seeds
140 g chopped prunes
56 g dried cranberries
56 g raisins
56 g diced dates
118 mL Grand Marnier
130 g "old" starter
80 g rye flour
55 mL warm water
250 g flour
93 g whole wheat flour
20 g gluten flour
5 g fine salt
25 g brown sugar
290 mL warm water
  1. In a medium bowl, combine cereal, sunflower seeds, prunes, cranberries, raisins and dates.
  2. Pour Grand Marnier over the mixture and stir gently to cover the mixture.
  3. Cover loosely and let stand overnight.
  4. In a large bowl, combine starter, rye flour and 55 mL warm water. Let stand 4 hours.
  5. In another bowl combine flour, whole wheat flour, gluten flour, salt and sugar, whisking well.
  6. Add the flour mixture and remaining water to the starter mixture, adding water if necessary.
  7. Mix well to form a pliable, slightly soft dough.
  8. Turn out onto a floured board and knead (or use a dough hook) for 12-15 minutes, until elastic and smooth.
  9. Place into an oiled bowl, cover and allow to rest 2 hours.
  10. Turn dough out onto a floured board and pat into a flat rectangle.
  11. Drain any remaining liqueur (there shouldn't be any) from the soaked mixture and discard.
  12. Spread the soaked mixture evenly over the dough and fold in (using letter/book-type folding like for puff pastry) until evenly incorporated. It will take quite a bit of work as there's almost as much stuff as dough, but work at it!
  13. Shape dough into a squat oval. Place on parchment or silicone-lined baking sheets, cover loosely and allow to rise 3-4 hours, until puffed.
  14. Preheat the oven to 425F and place a pan of hot water on the lowest rack or floor of the oven.
  15. Place in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 400F.
  16. Bake 10 minutes, then remove the pan of water and continue baking for 25 further minutes.
  17. Turn oven off, crack the door and allow to sit inside 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack and cooling completely.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 212.8
Total Fat: 3.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 33.3 mg
Total Carbs: 40.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.7 g
Protein: 6.5 g


  1. That 'drunken' bread has gotten my attention. Grand Marnier, is there ANYTHING more delicious? .. well, maybe a cup of hot, steaming coffee, but I digress.

    Lovely loaf. I'm sure it was thoroughly enjoyed. :)

  2. Everything-but-the-kitchen-sink bread! Love it.

    Hopefully I will get around to doing my first sourdough soon. And grand marnier is a lovely lovely thing.


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